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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

‘It won’t be gone for a long time’: Rise in COVID cases affecting Quinnipiac

As COVID-19 cases tick up statewide and local hospitals take in more patients for the virus, the coronavirus is once again impacting Quinnipiac University students.

An increasing number of people have reported being hospitalized for COVID-19 since mid-July. There was a 12.4% positive test rate and nearly 200 new COVID-19 hospitalizations in Connecticut alone in the second week of September.

Infographic By Alex Kendall

Despite the increase of cases across the country, Quinnipiac officials have not reinstated the efforts university administrators have used in the past to monitor on-campus COVID-19 cases.

“There’s no official counting of COVID. That stopped a long time ago,” said Tom Ellett, Quinnipiac’s chief experience officer. “That’s not a requirement of the CDC. So, no, I don’t see us (starting to count coronavirus cases). I don’t know how we’d do it.”

Although university officials have not kept track of the number of COVID-19 cases on campus, medical professionals acknowledge that it is still prevalent today.

“I think the key is, (COVID-19 is) not gone and it won’t be gone for a long time,” said Dr. Paul Anthony, medical director for public health services and assistant director for infectious disease at Hartford Hospital. “If I had to stress a message to people … just be mindful it’s still going to be around, and act accordingly.”

Although President Joe Biden’s administration officially ended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on May 11, Anthony stressed the continued importance of health precautions.

“If someone is sick, they should stay in their dorm room or at home … they should not be around others,” Anthony said. “The other thing that people tend to oversee is washing your hands often, because people touch their faces several times an hour. And if you’re touching viruses, you’re bringing them where they need to be to cause disease.”

Some students expressed concerns that Quinnipiac’s overcrowded housing is causing an uptick in cases on campus.

“A lot of it is school related because we are cramped up (and) not as spaced out as we used to be,” said Adji Cisse, a junior business analytics major.

Even with crowded housing and the discovery of a new coronavirus variant, Quinnipiac officials are not offering at-home tests, but still have testing services at the student health center.

“We would suggest that students get their own COVID tests if they want,” Ellett said. “I think there would be a charge if you go to the student health center.”

University officials removed the at-home test vending machine from the entryway of the old health center on the Mount Carmel Campus and have not relocated it.

“Well, I feel like that’s a little problematic,” said Francesca Kama, a senior political science major. “I think they should verify if people did get some of the boosters, at least, gotten four shots total.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new coronavirus vaccine to prevent people from getting newer variants of the virus. Although Ellett said Quinnipiac officials plan to open vaccine appointments for students, the FDA has not yet provided the university with vaccine supplies.

“We’re actually moving it where you can make an appointment and get the vaccine any time,” Ellett said, noting that it would be some time before students could receive the vaccine on campus.

However, students will soon be able to receive the new vaccine off campus.

“I was just talking to someone earlier this morning who has an appointment for Saturday to get a vaccine,” Anthony said.

Although it does not eliminate the possibility of infection, the vaccine is nevertheless an effective way to limit one’s risk of getting and transmitting COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Symptoms of the new COVID-19 variant are similar to those associated with previous variants, and Anthony said cough, fevers and nasal congestion remain some of the most common symptoms.

“What we’re seeing less and less of now compared to the original COVID is people losing their sense of smell and taste,” Anthony said. “We still see it occasionally, but it’s much less than (before).”

Anthony noted that COVID-19 symptoms often mimic allergies, which he said can create issues because it is also currently allergy season.

“I do tell people, even if you think it’s allergies, test yourself,” Anthony said. “If all the sudden your five friends start having allergy symptoms, it’s probably not allergies.”

Amid the increase in cases, some students said they want university officials to be more attentive to how COVID-19 affects students on campus.

“I think they should try to at least bring some more awareness to it because it is definitely spiking up,” said Nicholas Nardi, a first-year marketing major.

In a Sept. 13 email to students, Quinnipiac’s Office of Residential Life highlighted several key pieces of updated information about the coronavirus.

“If you were exposed, and symptomatic — get tested,” the email stated. “If you are asymptomatic, get tested after 5 full days after your last exposure, and continue precautions up to 10 days.”

The university’s COVID-19 guidelines instruct students who test positive for the virus to isolate in their on- or off-campus housing for at least five days, with the day they test positive counting as “day zero.” Students who test positive outside of the university’s health center must complete a self-reporting form.

Although Quinnipiac officials encourage students who test positive to go home, students who remain on campus throughout the duration of their isolation must wear masks in public spaces.

Students who do not experience symptoms of the virus can return to class — with a mask — after five days of isolation. However, the guidelines require students who experience mild or severe COVID-19 symptoms to isolate for the full 10-day period.

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Carleigh Beck
Carleigh Beck, Associate News Editor

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